International Women’s Day (IWD) has been celebrated around the globe this week, commemorating women worldwide and all they have achieved.
This year the theme of IWD is #BreakTheBias – encouraging us all to break free from stereotypes and discrimination to create a free and fair world for all.
We sat down with five of our Aspectees, to find out what IWD means to them and how the communications ad branding industry can help women achieve their goals.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“For me, it’s about ensuring that people are treated with the same respect or afforded the same opportunities regardless of their gender. IWD is a way of us showing girls and women all over the world that they have as much meaning as anyone else on this planet!” – Jamee, Account Director
“For me, it’s an opportunity to not only celebrate what it means to be a woman, but benchmark progress too. I love all that it means to be a woman, and seeing others smash through the glass ceiling is a valuable reminder that the possibilities are endless.” – Ruby, Account Executive
“IWD is a celebration of the social and economic progress women have achieved through resiliency and a reminder there is more work to be done.” – Ivy, Senior Account Executive
“It’s a way for us to celebrate progress in gender equality today, as well as remember those who paved the way by challenging social, political and cultural constructs throughout history.” – Astrid, Deputy Head of Energy and Industrials Practice
“To me, IWD is about bringing equality to society more generally. Yes, we want to celebrate all the amazing women across the world and the monumental achievements they make, but our end goal is to form a completely level playing field.” – Tamsin, Senior People and Experience Manager
Even though the workplace is becoming more equal, there is still much to be done. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the workplace as a woman, and how did you overcome it?
“A big challenge I have encountered is feeling unheard by older males. To overcome this, it’s important to remember you’re in the same room because you’re qualified and deserve to be there. Confidence is key.” – Ivy
“I agree. It’s important to believe in yourself and what you’re saying.” – Tamsin
“I’m not an engineer or a technical expert. I’m also usually one of maybe a few women in the room. Working in the energy industry can be tricky because people don’t know why they should trust you. You don’t need to be an expert in everything – it’s a good thing to never assume you’re the smartest in the room – but knowing enough and combining it with the things you’re an expert in will gain others respect… and they’ll listen to you.” – Jamee
“There have been situations in my career when I don’t feel I’ve been taken as seriously because I am a young woman. My goal is to say thank you for the challenge – now let’s show you what empowered young women can do!” – Astrid
“My biggest challenge is imposter syndrome. Even in a room full of other women, it can be difficult to believe that my ideas are valuable to others. Learning to trust my inner voice and have conviction is something that I’m still working on, but I can already see how far I’ve come working at Aspectus. I put it down to the flat structure and working in such a supportive and collaborative team.” – Ruby
What do you think the communictions and branding industry can do to help women more in the workplace?
“We’re lucky that in PR there are a lot of very incredible and talented women. I’d love to see more of them specialising in the energy sector, but both industries need to open those doors for women in this space.” – Jamee
“Our industry is female-dominated, so it would be great to see more females in senior positions.” – Tamsin
“Yes. Change occurs from the top down, so seeing women in leadership positions not only in our industry but across all sectors is extremely valuable.” – Ivy
“Talk about it. Gender inequality still exists – consciously or unconsciously – in many different forms for men and women. There needs to be an acknowledgement and a commitment to change. Thankfully I am surrounded by people that support this. Not everyone is – so as an industry, we need to ensure this stays top of the agenda.” – Astrid
“It’s crucial that the industry takes intersectionality seriously. We must consider everything and anything that can marginalise people to truly make progress.” – Ruby
What advice would you give a woman starting their career in the marketing industry?
“You will face challenges others won’t. And others will face challenges you will not. Commit to creating a positive difference while forging your path, surround yourself with people of the same mindset, and never be afraid to speak up.” – Astrid
“Go for it! You are more than capable.” – Ruby
“Your path might not look like the person next to you, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less.” – Tamsin
“As a woman, we often feel this pressure to act like the men in the room – don’t. Be completely yourself. We all have incredible attributes, and you don’t need to ‘be the man’ to get what you want out of your career or life.” – Jamee
“You may have a different experience than your male counterparts, but always be confident and resilient. Undoubtedly life will throw you curveballs.” – Ivy
And finally – who is your most inspiring woman, and why?
“My most inspiring woman is my Grandma. She single-handedly raised my Dad after her Husband passed away, then she helped raise my brothers and I when my Mum wasn’t around for a lot of our childhood. She’s 82, still works, and just really cares about other people. She inspires me every day. My work ethic, my morals – they all come from her.” – Jamee
“Definitely Malala Yousafzai” – Ivy
“My Mum. She taught me the value of hard work, how to be firm but kind and understanding – she was my teacher for some time, so I saw her a lot in a professional environment. Most importantly, she made me feel like I could conquer the world.” – Astrid
“Greta Thunburg as her defiance unsettles people (in the right way). She manages to shake up the patriarchy by refusing to play up to it, and standing strong in what she believes in.– Tamsin
What we’re doing to #BreakTheBias at Aspectus
Our industry has a long way to go to help women grow and succeed in their roles. While most of those in the industry are women, men dominate over 60% of agency boards.
70% of our senior management team are female, and we’re proud to be anagency with women at the helm.
Nearly three out of four of our Aspectees are women, and we work hard to help them thrive in an agency environment.
We’ve built an environment that ensures women not only reach the glass ceiling, but smash it wide open. From our highly regarded and successful buddy system, where women in the industry can support and mentor other women starting out in the industry to achieve their goals, through to a flexible working environment, paid time off for studing, career development, and an excellent maternity package – our fantastic benefits ensure that women are supported in achieving and being all that they can in every aspect of their lives.
Find out more about how we’re helping women in communicatiins and branding achieve their goals, not only on IWD but all year round.